Monday, May 20, 2013

Am I on Fire for the Lord? (Our Christian Identity)

At some point, these questions may have crept into our hearts: “How can I be on fire for the Lord, when I vacillate between hot and cold?” “I was excited when I gave my life to the Lord and felt I was on a spiritual high; I was constantly adoring and worshiping God. After a while, I felt my heart grow cold….” “Sometimes I feel I am on a spiritual high, and often I feel as if I am on a spiritual low.” Some of us may wonder why we at times read the Bible and pray earnestly, but slowly and eventually cease our Bible reading and praying. A [seemingly] defeated heart cries: “God’s sick of me. I can never be right enough for HIM. Even though I assert myself to make it right the next time, I fail once again. Why do I even go to the lengths of trying harder? I am disgusted with myself.”

“Who am I in Christ?” is the foundational cry of the believer’s heart in this context. The other foundational cry is, “Is God pleased with me despite my failures?” We question ourselves and seek God’s mind about us.

These are honest questions of a believer, but blame not the questioner for asking the question. This is an existential dilemma experienced by many. Let us realize that these questions are not an aberration but more or less common. Significantly, we must acknowledge our need to overcome this problem.

We should realize that our relationship with Christ will grow and mature into an unshakeable faith and love in HIM. Growth in faith and love is a process similar to a baby learning to walk. Crawling is the first step to walking, and then the baby walks with a support. After a while the baby walks without an aid but does fall. Slowly the baby gains strength in legs, the needed balance, and the confidence to walk steadily. Until this moment, walking is an intentional event in the life of this child. When the baby grows, walking transforms from an intentional to a default event. Similarly, we are growing in holiness in Christ.

Possessing the faith of the stalwarts in the Bible - Apostle Paul, the disciples, the faith hall of famers (Cf. Hebrews 11) - is an ongoing process. This is not an aberration but a part of our Christian growth. The failures and successes of Apostle Peter and other biblical stalwarts are well documented to encourage a growing Christian. Peter grew through his failures to what he became to be – a rock on which the church is built (Matthew 16:18).

The questions mentioned earlier suspect our position in Christ. We doubt who we are in Christ, and thus doubt exists in a believer’s life. Please listen to Os Guinness, “Picture a small boy frustrated with a jigsaw puzzle because he is certain that the pieces do not fit the picture on the box. We are like this when we doubt…But shake the pieces up a little, rearrange the one or two that we have put in the wrong place and everything changes. It is not the fault of the puzzle or the picture but the boy.”1When we doubt ourselves, the temptation is to blame and mutilate oneself. “Oh I am unable to solve the puzzle, I am a fool!” could be the cry of the heart. This is not a remedy. The effective remedy is to seek help to complete the puzzle. We should acknowledge our inward need to be strengthened in God’s presence. The cry of our heart should be, “I need God’s wisdom, confidence and strength.”

Just as a sick man visits the doctor, we ought to take our weakness to our Heavenly Father. Os Guinness says, “Any unresolved doubt will tend to thrust us away from God, but our experience of his resolving our previous doubts should encourage us to come nearer. The first reaction of our hearts should echo William Cowper’s prayer, “Decide this doubt for me.””2

The questions we pose in search for answers do not eliminate us from God’s presence. God understands human heart better than man himself (1 John 3: 20; Romans 8: 26-28 - The Message). God’s grace and love for a believer is the believer’s assurance that he will not be rejected from God’s presence on account of these honest questions. Christ said it is impossible for anyone to snatch a believer from HIS hand (John 10: 28). So even as we acknowledge the need for strengthening, let us be assured that we remain to be the children of the living God. We are God’s own, so we will take our questions to the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2, NASB). Os Guinness quotes Martin Luther’s prayer, which is very apt for this situation:
“Dear Lord,
Although, I am sure of my position,
I am unable to sustain it without Thee.
Help Thou me, or I am lost.”3

When in doubt, run to God. This song was originally sung in Tamil (one of the languages of the Indian subcontinent, and my native language). It reflects the heart of a believer who seeks God. May it be your prayer as well.

In my prayer I seek you (எந்தன் ஜெப வேளை உமை தேடி வந்தேன்) 4

In my prayer I seek you, LORD
Be gracious upon me – for
You are my fortress and refuge
I come seeking you, LORD!

Give me the grace to -
Interact with you always, Lord!
To listen to Your Word,
All through my life.

All through my life, LORD
I would be seated at your feet;
Listen to the tearful prayers,
Oh stream of Mercy!

I pray you may deliver all those
Who are in darkness and hopeless
Save us Oh my Jesus
Fervently we pray

Give me the spirit of intercession
To pray tirelessly
Remove all obstacles - for
I have come at the foot of the Cross.

We love the verse from the Bible that says we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2: 8-9). But let us also be equally aware of the verses preceding this verse. When God saved us, HE raised us up with Christ, and seated us with HIM in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6, NIV). A believer in Christ is seated with God in Christ in the heavenly realms. This is pivotal to the cognizance of our Christian identity. It is impossible for anyone to snatch a believer of Christ from God’s presence. If we desire to be on fire for the Lord always, we need to know and believe in this crucial truth.

I hope to conclude this theme in my next blog, but in the meantime may these verses strengthen you:

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
“I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me.
“It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you;
So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And I am God.
“Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43: 10-13, NASB)

We are God’s own and HE will bless us. Amen.


1 Os Guinness, God in the Dark, p215. 

Ibid., 216.


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